Jewish World Review June 4, 2002 / 23 Sivan, 5762
http://www.NewsAndOpinion.com | Like the "agents provacateur" anti-union bosses would send into the ranks of labor pickets to foment violence, Al Qaeda and other Muslim terrorist groups are trying to start jihads at each end of the Islamic world --- against the Jews in the Middle East and the Hindus on the subcontinent. They punch the Israelis in the nose to egg them on to retaliate against the West Bank Palestinians. They bomb the Indian Congress to ratchet up New Delhi's anger against Pakistan. Their goal? To foment a two front religious war.
Their purposes are easy to divine. Like any agent provacateur, they realize that war will help them to achieve their goal of radicalizing Islamic regimes by inflaming racial and religious passions in their populace. If Pakistan fights a war - especially a nuclear one - against an "infidel" nation like India, the militant Muslims are likely to increase their following from the 10-15 percent support their electoral track record indicates they currently have to a near majority. With this increased pressure, they might be able to take over yet another country - Pakistan - and this one has nuclear weapons.
Their second purpose is likely to divert American attention from the pressing business at hand of invading the one nation totally aligned with the terrorists - Iraq. If Middle Eastern issues and a war in Kashmir can delay American invasion of Iraq, Saddam Hussein buys valuable time to develop his own nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons and the means to deliver them. Time is Saddam's key ally. Once he goes nuclear, the US will not be able to stop him. Until then, he is vulnerable. Al Qaeda is trying to buy him the months that he needs.
Finally, Al Qaeda is probably trying to implement the strategy first articulated by Cuban revolutionary leader Che Guevera who said he wanted to tie the United States down in "one, two, a thousand Vietnams." Conscious of the limits of American patience and our sensitivity to potential casualties, Al Qaeda and its fellow terrorists want to stretch our resources so thin that they exhaust them.
We cannot treat the Indian-Paki potential conflict or the ongoing terror homicide/suicide bombings in the Middle East as isolated conflicts. We must see them as part two fronts in a coordinated Islamic challenge to Western power.
Both the Indian and Paki governments are run by leaders with strong personal and political investments in religious strife. The Indian government is now controlled by the Hindu Party, which replaced the Congress Party after almost a half century in opposition. Hindu militancy is as likely to sweep India in the event of a war as Muslim extremism is to grow in Pakistan.
But the ruling Hindu Party in New Delhi needs to understand that this growth of religious passion on both sides of its border with Pakistan would likely trigger a civil war at home in which India's normally peaceful 150 million Muslims war with the dominant Hindu population. Even were a war over Kashmir to stay conventional and not go nuclear, the civil war that would likely ensue would be a political disaster for the Hindu Party. Only reluctantly did the Indian voters depart from Gandhi's admonition to keep religion and governance separate. If this departure from the secular consensus that underlay Indian politics for fifty years results in a civil war, the Hindu Party will not likely again be trusted with power by India's voters.
Pakistan needs to understand that war over Kashmir would lead to its overthrow just as surely as the Argentine military regime lost power after its defeat by Britain in the Fauklands War. Pakistan - a relatively technologically backward nation of 150 million people -- has always lost to India - a more advanced nation of one billion -- and will continue to be defeated in any military contest. Leaders of military coups, like the current Paki regime, do not fare well when they lose foreign wars. Besides, beyond the sting of defeat, Islamic militants are quite right that a war with India will likely deliver Karachi into their hands by fanning religious militancy.
Once the leaders of India and Pakistan grasp that their political careers
will be shortened by a war, peace will probably break out all over, despite
the best efforts of the agents provacteur.
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